New Michelin-starred French restaurant blooms in Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


A fine dining restaurant with a Michelin star pedigree arrives in Houston next month. Le Jardinier will open May 18 inside the Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the restaurant announced.

French for “the gardener,” Le Jardinier comes to Houston via Miami and New York, where it holds one Michelin star. The restaurant defines itself as “a refined, vegetable-forward concept rooted in French culinary technique and inspired by the seasonality of ingredients.”

While it’s not a vegetarian restaurant (note the steak picture above), vegetables take center stage in dishes such as burrata with tomatoes, stone fruit, bee pollen, and basil seeds; Ora King salmon with courgettes and lemongrass emulsion; and grilled bavette au jus with broccolini and eggplant mousse.

Chef Alain Verzeroli possesses an impressive resume. During his training in Paris, he worked at three star restaurants Taillevent, Guy Savoy, and Arpeg, where he served as executive sous chef. Prior to opening Le Jardinier, he held three Michelin stars at Tokyo’s Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon. Still, Le Jardinier’s menu has been crafted with Houstonians in mind.

“As we’ve been preparing to open in Houston, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about what Houstonians crave and developing a menu that incorporates the unique terroir of the city,” the chef said in a statement.

Like Cafe Leonelli, the casual Italian restaurant that opened at the museum earlier this month, Le Jardinier is part of The Bastion Collection, the New York-based hospitality company that also operates La Table near the Galleria. Baston’s executive pastry chef Salvatore Martone has created a gluten-free dessert menu that includes options such as salty caramel sabayon, passion fruit and lime vacherin, and vegan ice creams.

Expect a setting that’s just as picturesque as the plates. The 70-seat dining room features a wall-size tapestry by Trenton Doyle-Hancock of an abstracted forest, titled Color Flash for Chat and Chew, Paris Texas in Seventy-Two. A 30 seat patio looks onto the museum’s sculpture garden.

“Chef Verzeroli’s artistic approach to simple, fresh ingredients combined with the natural elegance of the interiors forms an unrivaled dining experience in the Museum District,” stated Gary Tinterow, Director, the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “We are delighted to welcome visitors and Houstonians to a serene environment that effortlessly exemplifies our vision for the Sarofim Campus.”

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